With some tweaking, Xiaomi Mi 9 SE features the flagship and premium looks, great performance, versatile camera, and a surprising Super AMOLED screen.
- 97” Full HD display with 19.5:9 screen resolution
- 6GB RAM
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 CPU
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- 48MP rear camera
- Super AMOLED display
The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is a compact metal and glass phone, which looks and feels pretty like a flagship phone. It has full HD resolution with 19.5:9 screen ratio and it is a lot sharper than iPhone XR.
On paper, the 3070mAh battery may seem smaller but it could go well with the mid-range power demands by the phone. It also features Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM. It is quite an impressive spec when it comes to performance.
The MI 9 SE lacks stereo speakers and wireless charging, which are found on Google Pixel 3 and other flagships, but it still delivers Super AMOLED display and in-display fingerprint sensor. The 48MP camera on the device has the same sensor found in a lot of modern flagships like OnePlus 7 Pro.
The Xiaomi MI 9 SE comes in three-color options – violet, blue and grey. All of these colors look amazing with a high-gloss finish. Though they are always ready to catch fingerprints, there is still a case available under the box.
The 19.5:9 screen ratio clocks in at 6 inches. However, MI 9 SE is thin and long enough to be used single-handedly. All the buttons are given on the right side and the right side has the only dual-SIM slot.
With high-gloss, curved metal frame sandwiched between two Gorilla Glass sheets, the Mi 9 SE really feels smooth. It fits snugly and securely on your hands, especially when you keep it in case. It is cozy to hold for both small and big hands.
There is a mono speaker on the bottom and there is no microSD card slot and 3.5mm headphone jack. Its USB-C port is a great highlight.
It has got a sharp display with 432p per inch, which looks quite crisper than Huawei P30 Pro and OnePlus 7. Nevertheless, it is still true that Mi 9 SE features Super AMOLED screen, complemented with lots of color customization features in settings. It has a punchy display which produces deep blacks as well.
To get the most of depths, it also features dark mode in settings and there is also an option to hide the annoying notch. But it still displays the time and notifications on the blacked area on both sides of the camera.
Like Redmi Note 7, Xiaomi also runs on Android 9 Pie and MIUI 10. Instead of having apps drawer, the interface has an iOS-like setup. You can organize the widgets and shortcuts on the home screens. There is also a utility display on the left to access certain features like note taker and QR code reader. It also has a quick toggle menu on the top or pull-down notifications tray.
The device features a lot of customization options. It has gesture controls to navigate. However, you can also schedule customizable power on or off with virtual “Second Space” which is password protected to keep sensitive information.
The only catch is that every app is scanned for viruses whenever you install it every time. It is not the problem but it opens a different screen loaded with ads, rather than running in the background. You can disable this feature though.
There are two variants available – 6GB RAM with 64GB storage and 6GB RAM with 128GB storage. The Xiaomi MI 9 SE is quite an upper midrange device as it is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 chipset.
With its two weeks of usage, we have found its interface super smooth. The Antutu score was remarkable 181768, which puts it ahead with Pixel 2. It offers biometric security with in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock. Both work smoothly but fingerprint scanner might hopefully be improved with OT update.
The MI 9 SE comes with the triple rear camera setup, which is similar to the one in flagship Mi 9. It features 48MP main camera with f/1.8 aperture, 8MP telephoto zoom lens with f/2.4 aperture and 13MP ultra-wide angle sensor with f/2.4 aperture. But it lacks laser auto focus and optical image stabilization (OIS).
The primary camera is 48-megapixel but it processes images at 12 megapixels. You have to manually override it in 48MP mode. It captures lower-resolution pictures for pixel binning, which combines details from several pictures to deliver lower-resolution but sharper images. It features 20MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and auto HDR support to handle backlit images better than several midrange smartphones.
The Mi 9 SE comes with 3070mAh battery, which looks small on paper, but it can still make it all day long with its sub 6” display and mid-range demands for power. When testing the same, the Mi 9 SE took only 40% while gaming, video streaming, and music playback for an hour.
In the real world, we started using it from 6 am with a full charge and wrapped up with only 20% of juice left by 9 pm on moderate use. You can also save up more battery life with some battery optimization options. In case you fall short midday, it has 18W fast charging support with a compatible charger out of the box.
Is it really worth to buy?
The Mi 9 SE is a premium, compact smartphone with ample power and good camera under the hood. If you shop around, you may buy it around $300. It directly competes with the likes of Huawei P30 Lite, which is a cool yet affordable flagship.
- Great design
- Superior performance
- Decent camera
- No 3.5mm jack
- Mono speaker
- Quirky interface
Overall, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE is here to deliver the feel of using a premium flagship phone with superb performance and a versatile camera, and obviously the killer Super AMOLED display as well.